Our society has been built around gender-specific roles, women being the primary caregivers and father’s being the bread earners. August 18, 1920, was the moment that gave birth and later paved the way for women’s rights. World Wars brought women into mainstream jobs that were earlier done by men. Despite these overwhelming changes there still exist certain areas where the obsolete mindset and gender roles exist. That is what CEO/Owner Zoe Share with her global digital publication, Daddy’s Digest wants to change.
Driven by a social mission
Zoe’s experience in the marketing industry made it clear to her there was an oversaturation in the mother’s market, but there was a huge scope for progressive dads to have a dedicated space to go. This is how Daddy’s Digest’s seed was sown, with the mission to help dads to show up for themselves and their kids. Being a new media company Daddy’s Digest, with a digital-first and community-first approach – is poised to fill the gap for “dad’s being primary caregiver” space. Founded in 2017 the parenting publication focuses on all thing’s fatherhood and family. The idea is to create a space where fathers can look for answers that are difficult to find online. Some of the topics covered include how to become a better father, personal relationship dynamics, mental health challenges, and how to balance work and parenting. “Men are looking for answers to questions that are deep and sensitive and challenging, and it takes them to a pink blog speaking to women that continues the narrative about a man needing to play a particular role in society,” says Zoe. “We are focused on answering the questions dads and/or father figures want to know about their children – whether they are babies or adult children.” Daddy’s Digest allows readers to experience parenting from a different perspective. The purpose is to shift the narrative surrounding the father’s role in parenting. Daddy’s Digest also shares personal stories and expert advice to help both men and women be better partners and parents. The goal is to make a difference in the conversation by giving all parents a voice. She says, “Our social giveback will be closely tied to that – we aim to track how many experiences we help fathers and children to have together, how many fathers get caregiver training, and more. We believe that moving this narrative forward will positively impact families.”
Zoe acquired this business after running Schmooz Media, a socially conscious marketing agency for seven years. She wrote a children’s book and that led to the acquisition of Daddy’s Digest. As a former teacher, this acquisition made her life come full circle. From English major to the classroom to the marketing boardroom and now to a family-based publication with an audience of hundreds of thousands of people, Zoe is delighted at this phase of her life’s journey.
Dealing with Naysayers: Belief in self
Initially, Zoe didn’t realize that for a female leader, wage disparity would become a huge challenge. Zoe’s confidence in asking for a fair wage has grown as her financial needs have increased as a result of having a family to support. She is unfettered turning down businesses that do not match her priorities and expectations. As she puts it, “I work to overcome this every day, it’s not a simple solution; it takes being curious about each of your interactions and decisions for things to change. It also goes back to my why for acquiring Daddy’s Digest. The mental load women carry is heavy and tied to societal patterns that are pushed again and again in the media. If men are more accountable for how they are showing up, I believe this will help women show up for themselves.”
A firm believer in hard work, Zoe believes that luck does play a role. An individual must decide to show up, be prepared and be willing to take the first step. She says, “you’ll just “get lucky” is too big of a risk. That being said, having spontaneity, joie de vivre and an ability to welcome surprises into your life is incredibly important.”
After becoming a parent to two children, there came a paradigm shift for Zoe’s. It was here that she started listening to people and taking their advice. In hindsight, she puts it, “I don’t do well with being told what to do and I usually have to learn the hard way for myself to prove if I “should” or “shouldn’t” do it. I have learned to prioritize my wellness more so that I can be present for the things I want to achieve. This means I no longer feel like I am dealing with a can or cannot, I am thinking about it from a lens of capacity.”
Zoe is a passionate, curious, and lifelong learner. She has always tried to be radically candid, which generally can be very off-putting. She says, “If a man were that blunt, it would be seen as direct, but for me, I do not doubt that I’m very off-putting for certain people. The leadership lesson I’ve learned is that I’m not in this world to be everyone’s friend; I have to be kind, compassionate, and hardworking… and that includes being those things to myself.”
Strategic Planning: Hiring, Mentoring, Learning and Writing it down
Leaders are often pioneers when it comes to breaking barriers. However, discrimination against women is far more common than we would like to believe. But Zoe didn’t allow her gender to become a barrier. “I have been told to “Keep it all together,” says Zoe. “I’m okay with not having it altogether all the time.” It was her skillset which eventually led her to this level. Her strength in the area of soft skills – being a classroom teacher first, guiding, and leading came naturally to her. She shares, “I am so grateful for this training in the education space before starting a company, as it has been paramount to how I conduct myself in tough situations, and when trying to navigate conflict.”
With experience, people can gauge who they can work with and who might not be a good fit. Zoe has fine tuned this to a simple formula. She shares, “I do not partner with people who do not value my time; I do not partner with people who do not treat others the way they want to be treated.” Her present goals are to provide a platform and amplify the voices of millions of fathers to push forward the narrative of what it means to show up for yourself and your kids.
In the end, she finally shares her secret to success. “My most successful days are when I feel like I have had a good night’s sleep, when I get to add value to someone’s life through my work and when my children and I get to have a deep laugh in the playroom. Writing it down is one of the most important things I can do. I often plan on a MIRO board, which is on the computer, but putting it in my handwriting and posting it up on the wall in my office holds me accountable,” Zoe concludes. “Success isn’t a one-time thing; it’s a sliding scale and it comes and goes.”